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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: writer wednesday, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Writer Wednesday: Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Summer is always tough for me. My daughter is home, which means being Mom takes up most of my days. My new job as an acquisitions editor added more work to my already full plate. On top of that, I'm booked solid with my own editing clients for the rest of 2015. So yeah, I haven't been writing as much. But things are going to change soon.

School begins on Monday, and that means I'll be working full days again. My plan is to devote mornings to me and afternoons to Seek. Splitting my day up will allow me time to edit for my clients and write for me, while still handling my duties for Leap Books. Or at least that's the plan. ;)

I'm going to miss my daughter though. She's my buddy. There's nothing I love more than being with her, but I know she is excited to start a new school year (Third grade already? How did she get so big?) and see all of her friends again. So here's to a great start to the school year and life getting back to a routine.

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2. Writer Wednesday: Dos and Don'ts of Submitting to Editors

Now that Seek's open submissions period is over, I wanted to share some things I saw on the other side of the submissions desk. I hope you find this helpful.

First, let's start with the negative—things I saw that I wish I hadn't. These are things I beg you not to do when querying. 
  • Queries that didn't follow submission guidelines  I get that every publisher (and agent) tends to have specific submission guidelines and it can be overwhelming for authors, but please take the time to follow them. If you don't, it shows us you don't value our time or our preferences. That's no way to start a relationship with someone.
  • Queries that aren't at all what I'm looking for  I received queries for young adult books and early readers, yet my submission guidelines specifically say I'm looking for middle grade books. Querying with a book that isn't what an editor is looking for is wasting everyone's time, including your own. Besides, who wants an unnecessary rejection?
  • Misspelling the editor's name.  I understand Kelly is both a girl's name and a boy's name; however, a simple Google search brings up only one Kelly Hashway—me. And I have my picture all over the place. I'm not Mr. Hashway. I also got a lot of "Dear Ms. Hathaway" queries. I'm not related to Anne Hathaway or any other Hathaways. If you can't take the time to proofread to ensure you're spelling an editor's name correctly, you're telling me you don't care. That doesn't make me care much in return. :(
  • Replies asking if the author can revise and resubmit  If an editor loves your writing and concept but thinks the book needs work, he/she will tell you to revise and resubmit. Please don't email me and ask if you can—or worse, just assume you can. If I took the time to give you helpful feedback, use it to move forward and get ready for your next submission.
  • Forget to include a query  I kid you not. I received more than one query that didn't have a query letter. They were simply "here's my attached manuscript" messages. I didn't even know what the books were called. If you can't care enough to describe your book to me or even tell me the title, I'm not going to be the least bit excited to read your pages.
Okay, enough negativity. Let's move on to the positives—things I saw and loved. These are the things you should do when querying:
  • Be professional  I had several people who know me from this blog or other social media sites query me and they still addressed me as Ms. Hashway or Mrs. Hashway instead of Kelly. Kudos to you, because even though I was thinking, "Oh yay, INSERT NAME HERE is querying me" I still handle all query letters equally. Yes, I had to pass on queries from people I know, and yes it made me sad. But this is a business and we have to remember that.
  • Appreciate any feedback you get, because it's rare  I got the nicest response from a pass. I didn't know this person at all, but they responded to my pass to thank me for getting back to them in such a timely manner and for offering helpful feedback. I'm not going to lie. I got a few others like this one and they kept me going when my inbox was spilling over. This showed me these people get it. They get how busy editors are and appreciate that an editor took the time to offer feedback when it's not mandatory. These are people I'll remember if they cross my inbox again.
Okay, there are other things you should do, but I think you can figure them out from my list of things you shouldn't do. Do you have any query tips to add to my list? Feel free to share in the comments.

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3. Writer Wednesday: Big Announcement and Opportunity for Writers

I've been mentioning that I have news to share, and I can finally tell you what it is. I am now an acquisitions editor for Leap Books, Seek. This is the middle grade line for Leap. You can read the announcement on Leap's blog here.

As many of you probably know, I've been working as a copy editor for Leap for about a year now. That means I've had the privilege to work on some great titles from all of Leap's lines—Surge (YA), Shine (YA/NA novellas), and the newly renamed Seek (MG). Seek was formerly known as Frolic, but since the characters in the books seek adventure and don't actually frolic, the name was changed. ;)

Now the news that's good for you. Yes, YOU! I see you. In August, I'm opening up to unagented submissions for a very short period of time. Of course, if you have an agent, you are welcome to submit too. But this is an opportunity for those without representation at the moment, since Seek is usually only open to agented submissions.

So get ready! I'm looking for adventure, mystery, fantasy, and contemporary. And remember, it must be a middle grade title. If you don't want to miss my announcement of when the open submission will take place and where to send your query, follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter where I'll be sure to post the details.

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4. Writer Wednesday: Open Submissions Approaching!

If you read last Wednesday's post, then you know that I'm now the acquisitions editor for Leap Books' middle grade line, Seek. I also mentioned that while Seek is only open to agented submissions I'd be holding an open submissions period in August. Well…

From August 1 to August 14, I'll be accepting unagented submissions. If you have a middle grade title (geared toward tweens) you can query me at kellyhashway.leapbooks@gmail.com. Please make sure your query includes the 
following:

  • Subject line: Open Submission: TITLE OF YOUR BOOK
  • Query in the body of the email
  • synopsis and first three (3) chapters of your book (as Word attachments)

That's it! Please only query me at the Leap Books address above. Queries sent to 
my regular email will be deleted unread.

Not sure if your book is a good fit for Seek? Here's what I'm looking for:

I am looking for immersive middle grade fiction stories of approximately 30-40,000 words, in all genres, with characters that LEAP off the page. Submissions should demonstrate:

  • strong, polished writing

  • engaging and age-appropriate storytelling that will appeal to the target audience

  • solid character development

  • powerful world building

  • an exciting plot

***Preference for mystery, contemporary, and fantasy at this time.***
Good luck!

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5. Writer Wednesday: Merriam-Webster and Chicago Manual of Style Are Your Friends

If you subscribe to my newsletter, then you'll remember that last month I mentioned being mindful of different spellings of words depending on how they are being used. Yes, I'm talking about the same word being spelled differently if it's used as a noun, verb, adjective, etc. Crazy, right? That's the English language for you. ;)

Grammar geeks like me, thrive on this stuff, but the typical writer does not. My suggestion is to make Merriam-Webster and Chicago Manual of Style your best friends. I always have a tab open to Merriam-Webster to make sure I'm using the proper spelling for words. I also refer to Chicago manual of Style's hyphenation table quite frequently. As an editor, I have to do this because I don't want errors in my clients' books. But all authors should do this. Here's an example of what I mean:

speed dial — This is the noun form. I hit four on my speed dial.
speed-dial — This is the verb form. I speed-dial Trish.

Spell check (Ugh, don't get me started on spell check!) won't catch these mistakes. (Spell check is stupid. It often suggests changes that are incorrect! Oops, there I go again.)

So, if you're unsure of a word—whether to hyphenate it, write it as one word, or write it as two—check Merriam-Webster and Chicago Manual of Style. (Seriously, bookmark both of those pages!) Your editor will love you for it. ;)

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6. Writer Wednesday: The Other Side of the Submissions Desk

While my time on the other side of the submissions desk has been brief so far, I've already learned a lot. And since it's taught me more about being an author on submission, I want to share something very important with you all. Here it is. You don't just want a book contract. You want an editor who LOVES your book every bit as much as you do.

When I first started writing, I had this illusion that all I needed was a contract. Someone who would put my book in print. I was wrong. Obviously, we all strive for book deals, but you shouldn't JUST want a contract. You should want an editor who loves your book so much they have to have it.

I've gotten a lot of submissions during my open submissions period at Seek. I'm talking flooded inbox. I've seen a lot of good manuscripts. Notice I said good. The problem is, I can't offer a contract on a good manuscript. I have to wish I wrote your book because it's that amazing. I have to not be able to get your book out of my mind. I have to keep checking my email to see if you've responded to my offer yet. That's how much I need to love your book.

Why, you ask? I've gotten to work on books at Seek that were acquired before I came on board. Let me tell you how many times I read each book. Oh wait, I lost count. It's a lot. A LOT. If I can't get excited to read your book over and over again, I'm not the right editor for your book. Luckily, the books I've worked on have been books I love. I look forward to reading them countless times, and I love the stories more each time I read them.

Think of your personal book collection. We all have those books we reread time and time again because they hold special places in our hearts and our memories. They're written in, dog-eared, and filled with Post-It notes. Those are the book I offer on. So if I offer on your book, know I will champion it with all I have. That's the editor you want for the book you've poured your heart and soul into. Don't accept anything else, because you don't deserve anything less than that.

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7. Writer Wednesday: Who Am I?


Did my post title confuse you? It confused me a little too if I'm being honest. And here's why. My agent, the very talented and uber intelligent Sarah Negovetich, recently posted about author bios, and I had to smack myself in the forehead after reading her post. Why? Because I did every one of the things she cautions authors NOT to do. ;) Oops! If you haven't read her post, check it out here. It's definitely worth your time.

I realized I had to change my bio because one thing I really pride myself on is being me. I embarrass myself all the time because I refuse to hide who I really am. Yet my bio was doing just that. It was stuffy and boring. My motto is, and has always been, "If you're not weird, you're boring." So why was my author bio boring?

Here's my old bio so you can see for yourself:
Kelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets. Hashway is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency. 

It's over, so feel free to stretch and wake yourself up again. Yawnfest, right? So, I'm trying to get my bio to convey who I really am, and while I'm not quite happy with it yet, I think it's getting there. So, I'm going to share it with you today so you can tell me what you think.

Here we go:
Kelly Hashway fully admits to being one of the most accident-prone people on the planet, but that didn’t stop her from jumping out of an airplane at ten thousand feet one Halloween. Maybe it was growing up reading R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books that instilled a love of all things scary and a desire to live in a world filled with supernatural creatures, but she spends her days writing speculative fiction for young adults and middle graders. Kelly’s also a sucker for first love, which is why she writes YA and NA romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she’s not writing, Kelly works as an editor, and also as Mom, which she believes is a job title that deserves to be capitalized. She is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

For those of you who have known me for a while, what do you think? Is it more me? Would you change anything, add anything? I'm all ears. :)

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8. Writer Wednesday: The Common Thread


A while back, Beth Fred and I were talking about mission statements and the common theme in the books we write. Now, you all know I write across genres and age levels, so you can imagine my reaction when Beth said there must be a common theme in all my books.

Um… Yeah, that was me. I've always said I'm not one to write to trends. I write the stories I feel I need to tell. And that's led me to having a pen name for romance while I write speculative fiction under my own name. But after a while, I realized Beth was right. There IS a common theme in all my books. It's self-discovery.

In my Touch of Death series, Jodi finds out she's a special kind of necromancer descended from the Gorgon Medusa. She struggles with what this means for her and how she'll have to adapt her life now that she's poisonous to humans.

In The Monster Within books, Sam dies of cancer at seventeen and is brought back from the dead as a monster who has to kill to survive. She struggles to figure out where she fits into the world and whether or not she's willing to kill others in order to live.

In Perfect For You (Ashelyn Drake title), Meg is trying to find herself again after having her heart broken in a very public and humiliating way. As much as it's about her finding the right guy, it's about her finding herself.

In A Lion's Song (my most recent picture book), Amara is trying to figure out her place in the pride when she's the only lion who can't roar.

I could keep going with all my books, but I think you can see the common thread. All my MCs are struggling to figure out who they are in this world and what that means for them. So I do have a common theme after all, even if I didn't know I did at the time I wrote these books.

What common theme pops up in your work?

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9. Writer Wednesday: Time Management Tricks and Tips for Summer

June is an editing month for me. I have four client edits scheduled. Yes, I'm a crazy woman. On top of that I have critiquing for Rate Your Story and editing for Leap Books. I also know I'm getting edits on my 2016 title with Spencer Hill Press, Fading Into the Shadows soon. So how do I fit it all in, especially when Thursday is my daughter's last day of school before she's home with me for the summer?

I thought I'd share some of my tips and tricks for making extra time in the day. Here's a few ways I try to carve out extra writing and/or editing time:
  • Get Up Early  There's so much to be said for being the only one awake. It's quiet and there are no distractions.
  • Even Ten Stolen Minutes Can Be Devoted to Working  If my daughter decides to play on the iPad for ten minutes, I get my laptop and get as much done as I can in that time. Ten minutes might not seem worth it, but trust me, if you take ten minutes here and there, it adds up.
  • Work During Commercials  At night, I like to watch TV before bed, because I'm usually busy working all day. So I kick my feet up and relax. But…I hate commercials. So, I bring my laptop to the couch and I work during commercial breaks.
  • Work Outside  My daughter loves to be outside, but the second the neighbors come out, I'm old news. She ditches me to play with them. I bring my laptop on my deck so I can keep an eye on her and get my work done.
  • Only Use Social Media for a Few Minutes at a Time and Only on My Phone  We all know that social media is part of what we do. You can't avoid it if you want to build a platform. But…you can make sure you limit your time on it. I use my phone with the speech to text feature, which is quicker than typing responses on blog posts. I can also steal time, like when my daughter is showering, to post to FB and Twitter, which I have linked so posting to one posts to the other. It's a definite time saver.
  • Designate Daily Work Time  I told my daughter that right after we have breakfast, I need to work in my office for about two hours. That will be her time to play in her room, either with her Monster High dolls or on her laptop. Designating specific time like this establishes a routine for my entire household, which helps me a lot.
Do you have tricks for carving out more time in your day when summer rolls around?

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10. Writer Wednesday: Email Marketing

Today I thought I'd share something I learned about marketing recently. I've heard in the past that email marketing is so important. I thought that just meant expanding your mailing list. While that's very important, it's not ALL email marketing is. Think about this. When your book is chosen for the Kindle Daily Deal, Amazon emails LOADS of people to tell them about your book being on sale. And from that, your ranking gets amazingly good. Why? Email marketing.

So I took that theory and started focusing my efforts on sites that have huge email newsletter lists. I'm talking 70,000+ people. You can advertise your sales in their newsletters for very small fees, which I've found are totally worth it. Why? Because so many people are hearing about your book when they open their email. And these are people who sign up for these emails because they are looking for good sales on books. They are your target audience.

So research some sites that have newsletters like this and consider trying this marketing technique. I'd love to hear if your experience is as good as mine.

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11. Writer Wednesday: Hello, Old Friend

Have you ever put a manuscript aside for a long time—I'm talking months or even years—and then gone back to it? Maybe it's to revise or edit after it was acquired by a publisher, but either way, you've had time away and all the details aren't at the forefront of your mind because you've been writing other things. For me it's like getting to see an old friend again.

This year I finished writing a book I hadn't looked at in a while (because I got busy editing other books), and it made me fall in love with the story again. Next week, I'll be diving into edits on a book that was acquired a while ago. I haven't looked at the manuscript in probably a year, and I'm really excited to go back and visit these characters. I remember having that feeling of "this is the one" when I wrote the book, and I'm hoping I still have that feeling when I get my first round edits from my amazing editor. I'll be sure to let you know. :)

Have you revisited any "old friends" lately? Was it a good experience?

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12. Writer Wednesday: When Organization Becomes Clutter

Okay, so I've been keeping a secret from all of you. I've taken on a new job that I can't quite tell you about yet. My contract is signed and delivered, but I'm waiting for the official announcement to tell you all what it is. 

What I can say is that I've become insanely busy! My writing desk looks like a case of Post-It notes threw up on it. Seriously, I'm talking those big Post-It pads with lines on them stuck EVERYWHERE! My desk has three shelves on it, and they are serving as places to stick my notes. Not to mention the notes covering the actual desk portion where I work.

So what I've realized is that my organization has turned into clutter. If you saw my desk (and no, I'm not going to subject you to pictures of my chaos), you'd think I was the messiest writer ever. But…it works for me because I love crossing things off my notes and then ultimately crumpling them up and tossing them when I've accomplished everything on the notes. That's a good feeling.

I guess in a way, the Post-It notes make me feel like I'm somewhat in control and they give me a sense of accomplishment when I can toss them in the trash.

How do you handle being busier than busy? Do you have an avalanche of Post-Its, too?

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13. Writer Wednesday: Amazon's New Review Policy

I'm sure most of you have seen or heard about how Amazon is removing reviews and not allowing people to review certain books because they believe the reviewer knows the author. If you haven't seen this yet, here is how the notice to the reviewer begins:
“We removed your Customer Reviews because you know the author personally.”
There's another message that says something to the effect of: You are ineligible to review this book...

Authors and reviewers seem to be in an uproar about this. Today, I want to share my feelings on it. As an author, I love reaching out to readers. I have my FB group, Kelly's Coven, and I interact with readers on my FB author page, FB profile page, Twitter, my website, Goodreads, you name it! So does this mean all those people I interact with will no longer be able to post reviews? I highly doubt Amazon will be able to keep track of them all, but I'm sure the number of reviews I have per book will decrease.

So what does this mean? Personally, I don't plan to change anything. Not one thing, because I LOVE talking to readers. Sure, I want reviews because they are important to a book's success. But more than that, I want to have a genuine relationship with my readers. So if I have to sacrifice reviews to keep my readers happy, I will.

I'm not going to stop interacting with anyone who wants to discuss my books with me. I love you all and talking to you is one of my favorite things about being an author.

What do you think about Amazon's new policy?

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14. Writer Wednesday: Grammar Lovers Unite

It's no secret I love grammar. Yes, I'm one of those weird people who enjoys grammar rules—following them and reciting them for others. ;) I grew up with my mother correcting my grammar. I think I had an edge in school because I was so familiar with grammar rules from hearing them at home. So thanks, Mom!

In college I took a grammar course and was probably the only one in my class who actually enjoyed it. My professor even asked me to teach the other students when they had trouble understanding how to convert passive voice to active voice. My trick with grammar is that I come up with my own ways to remember the rules and tricks to correcting common grammatical errors.

Does that mean my manuscripts are free of grammatical errors? I wish! As a writer and editor, I can tell you that editing your own work is impossible. You simply can't catch all your own mistakes. Being that I'm a fast drafter, I make a lot of errors in my first drafts because my fingers are faster than my grammar. ;) But, while some dread revision and fixing their grammar, I love it. Break out the red, purple, and green pens. (Yes, I really do edit in those colors when I'm editing on paper.) Bring on the delete key.

But do you know what I love the most about grammar? Breaking the rules. I know, I know. You're probably thinking, "But, Kelly, you just said you love grammar rules. Why would you break them?" The answer is simple. I write in the first person, which means my narration takes on the MC's voice, just like dialogue takes on the voice of the speaker. And let's be honest. Most people do not speak with perfect grammar. Not even me, a grammar lover. So I get to break the rules while still embracing them. Ah, the beauty of being a writer.

Are there any grammar rules you love to break? Or are there any that you really can't stand?

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15. Writer Wednesday: Wattpad

2015 is the year of branching out for me. I'm trying new ways to reach readers. My latest venture is with Wattpad. I wasn't very familiar with this platform, but I know a lot of readers are there grabbing free samples of books. So I thought why not?

I joined and got permission from the very awesome people at Spencer Hill Press to upload my two FREE Touch of Death series companions, which are also available on the SHP website. 

The first is Curse of Death, which is the myth behind the series. It shows why I love Medusa and feel she was wrongfully cursed. 
The second is Kiss of Death, which is a prequel novella told from Alex's POV, because I just love Alex and his story needed to be told pre-Jodi.

So what does this mean? I'm not entirely sure yet, but I'm hoping to reach new readers and introduce them to my work. I'll keep you posted on how it's going. In the meantime, feel free to follow me on Wattpad here and to read my free stories.

Are you on Wattpad? Feel free to leave your link in the comments so I can follow you. If you aren't, what do you think of a site that allows you to sample an author's work?

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16. Writer Wednesday: The Value of Free

Recently I've come across quite a few debates about authors offering books for free. Some authors claim it's killing the book industry because readers won't pay for books when they can get so many for free. So basically, if you're book isn't available for free, readers will pass you by. Others argue that free books are a great way to get your work in the hands of readers who will hopefully love your writing and then buy your other books.

Until last week, I was firmly in the latter group. I have some titles that are perma free. My hope is that people will download those and then look to see what other books I have available for purchase. Does that actually happen? Sometimes. And other times I get emails from readers asking where they can get my other books for free. Now, I say my opinion changed last week and here's why. I got an email through Goodreads from someone I didn't know. They'd read one of my reviews and asked if I knew where to get the book for free. My initial reaction was to scream. This author is a friend of mine. Writing is her job. So, yeah, I got upset. Every day people spend countless dollars at Starbucks (Nothing wrong if that's you. I'm a huge coffee drinker.) for a coffee that will be gone in a matter of minutes. But they won't purchase a book that will entertain them for hours, even days—or in the event that they love it, over and over again for many years to come. That bothers me.

Now I get that money can be tight. I've been there. But here's what I did when I was in that situation. I went to the library. If I wanted to read a book that wasn't on the shelves, I put in a request for it. And guess what? The library will most likely purchase the book for you and others to read. It's a win for everyone.

So where do I stand on free books? I'm glad I have some titles available for free. I have no plans to change that. But if a book you want to read isn't free, please either purchase it or request it from your library. Authors work really hard, and everyone deserves to be paid for their hard work.

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17. Writer Wednesday: What Revision Really Looks Like

I've come to the conclusion that I like to embarrass myself. Today I'm sharing a video of what revision really looks like…if you're me. Just an FYI, my daughter watched this and said, "You're putting that on YouTube?" while giving me a "Mom, you're so embarrassing" look. Then she must have had a change of heart because she laughed and said, "Let me know when it's up. I want to watch it again and again so I can laugh at you." She's such a confidence booster!

So, without further ado, here is what revision really looks like when you're me. While the video is short, just envision this repeating on an endless loop until I finish revising a book. ;)



Did this seem familiar to you? What does your revision process look like?

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18. Writer Wednesday: I'd Rather Buy a Book

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about things people buy on a daily/weekly basis that cost more than a book, and it kind of depressed me. Not that I want to depress you too, but check out this quick list. (This could have gotten really long, but I think you get my point.)

Coffee (lattes, cappuccino, etc.) ~ I make my own coffee, so I save on this daily expense.

Greeting Cards ~ Is anyone else appalled at how expensive these things are? I mean it's like a total of 20-40 words and you're charging me $5! My book is over 80K and it's not that expensive (in ebook format).

Vending Machine Snacks/Drinks ~ These tiny packages are more expensive than their larger counterparts you can buy in a food store.

Register Items ~ You know, those overpriced candy bars and packs of gum they have at the registers in stores. You could buy an entire bag of candy for the price of the one bar, but this is RIGHT HERE! Same with the gum.

Dollar Bin Specials ~ Okay, maybe this isn't a daily or weekly thing for everyone, but you know what I'm talking about. You walk into Target and those dreaded dollar bins stare you in the face. Of course there's something you HAVE to have, right? ;)

Yet all these things are items people purchase without a second thought. So why then, is it so hard to get people to buy a book priced anywhere from $.99-$9.99? Books are hours or days (depending on your reading time/pace) of entertainment. None of these items do the same. And all of the items above are discarded, when a book can be reread or passed on to another person.

Now, if you enjoy spending money on the things I listed above, that's your prerogative, but personally, I'd rather buy a book.

How about you?

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19. Writer Wednesday: Barnes and Noble vs. Amazon

Lately I've been wondering what drives people to Barnes and Noble as opposed to Amazon or vice versa. They both have books in paperback and ebook formats, so what prompts someone to pick one over the other?

I'm an Amazon girl, but oddly enough I used to purchase all my books through Barnes and Noble. I don't know why I changed. It sort of happened one day without me knowing it. But let me share something with you from an author's perspective—something that has me admittedly perplexed.

I released an Ashelyn Drake title (Looking For Love) this month. It's a new adult romance, and I mention the genre for a reason. I've heard (not that I know if this is true or not) that romance sells better on B&N than Amazon. Well, for this book, that's true. My B&N ranking continues to get better every day, while my Amazon ranking is going in the opposite direction. Checking my sales numbers, I see a drastic different between the two sites. Now here's why I'm baffled. I don't use the B&N link to promote. I always use the Amazon link. Sure I have the B&N link on my website, but I don't actively promote it.

That's not the only reason I'm confused. You see the other Campus Crush novellas, before they were packaged as one book—Campus Crush, all sold better on Amazon. Hmm… So what is making this book different? I have a clue!

So I'm asking you all, which site do you gravitate toward—Amazon or B&N—and why?

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20. Writer Wednesday: Nothing Is One Size Fits All


Something I've discovered in this industry is that there is no such thing as one size fits all. What works while drafting one book, may not work for another. I've written some books completely out of order and had to piece them together. Others I've written linearly. The same goes for revision. Some books make me want to pull my hair out during revisions because I have to track so many things and keep lists to make sure there aren't inconsistencies anywhere. Other books go so smoothly during revisions that I get a little worried because I feel it should have been more difficult.

And even after the writing and revising stage, things still aren't one size fits all. What works for one author while promoting a new book may not work for another. I'm talking about the exact same efforts yielding very different results. So how do we know what to do? Honestly, I think it's all trial and error. We have to try new things and old things to see what will work for that particular book. Time consuming? Absolutely! Frustrating at times? Absolutely! Necessary? Absolutely! Well, unless you don't care if your books sell or not, but let's be honest. We ALL care. ;)

Have you ever experienced very different results from the same strategies?

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21. Writer Wednesday: Writers and Taxes

Happy Tax Day! 

I could hear most of you groaning. Taxes aren't exactly fun for a writer. We don't get the same taxes taken out of our pay, which means we get killed at tax time. I've seen some horror stories from well-known and successful writers who owe thousands at tax time. I don't envy them, but at the same time I do.

Confused? Really the less you make and the more you can write off as losses, the better as far as tax season goes. Of course that means you didn't have the best year. On the other hand, if you sold a ton of books and made great money, you're going to have to give some of that back come April 15. I pay quarterly, and I usually wind up overpaying, which means I get some money back at the end of the year, but it's nothing to celebrate.

So what's a writer to do? As always, write. At least that's my opinion. What do you think about the way writers are taxed. Is there a better system?

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22. Writer Wednesday: Dos and Don'ts of Author Events

Last Saturday I attended a signing event, and I saw some things that really bothered me as an author. Several of the authors in attendance left early due to poor sales. Now it was a gorgeous Saturday with sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s. Plus we were competing with Comic Con being held in this area for the first time ever. So yes, attendance at the event wasn't great. However, I don't blame that on why these authors weren't selling. I saw some things I want to warn you all against.
  • Lack of displays  You don't have to be Martha Stewart to make your table of books look nice. But I saw authors literally throw copies of books on the uncovered fold-out tables. I'm talking not even in a pile. Just tossed. Others stacked their books and kept nothing but the side of the white pages facing the people walking into the room. The problem with this is it looks like the author just doesn't care. If you don't have a book stand, you can still prop a book up in front of the stack so people have something to look at other than a spine or white edges. And you can purchase a cheap table cloth to cover the ugly folding table. Mine cost me $1.99. I also like to print out the cover of my upcoming or newest release and display it as a poster or in a picture frame. It's simple, inexpensive, and looks nice. 
  • Not being accessible or open to interaction  Some authors brought their laptops and worked. Now, I get that people are busy. I definitely am too, but nothing says "Don't bother me" like hiding behind a computer or even your phone. You should want to interact with readers and engage them in conversation. Closing yourself off from them isn't going to make you any sales or potential fans.
  • Hiding behind a table  I'm short, so sitting behind a table means I get lost behind my displays. But even if that wasn't the case, I wouldn't sit behind a table. I stand (unless I'm signing a book—I sit then because I can't write legibly while standing). And I'm either on the side of my table or in front of it. Why? Because I want to talk to people as they pass by. I want to be someone that people see as friendly and approachable. And in a crowded room with other people talking, it's too difficult to talk across a table.
Now I'm not claiming to be an expert by any means, but even with low attendance, I sold well at this event. And even if I didn't, I wouldn't have left early because I believe if you commit to an event, you see it through. Yeah, there will be times when you only sell a few copies or even none. But we are professionals, and professionals don't leave when things don't go their way.

So please, if you are going to an event, go with the right attitude. If you show that you want to be there and engage in conversations with others, you'll have a lot more success as far as reaching potential readers and connecting with other authors.

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23. Writer Wednesday: The Dreaded M-Word

No, I'm not talking about money—although I'll gladly take some if you're offering. ;) I'm talking about marketing. I'm not one of those authors who loves to market. It's actually my least favorite part of being an author. I'd much rather write more books, which is why I have a backlog of manuscripts in various stages of revision. (Don't tell my agent, who is already handling plenty for me at the moment. I don't want to scare her away.)

Recently I realized I need to step up my marketing game. Yes, even though I don't really enjoy it. Sure, I love in-person events. Give me plenty of those! But the other marketing stuff…not so much. So I promised myself to do at least one thing a day to market my work. And you know what? I've found that one thing usually leads to another and sometimes another. Yes, I've been averaging about three marketing efforts a day. Here comes the really surprising part. The more I market, the more I enjoy marketing.

I know! It's crazy! But here's the thing. I marketed my free book Campus Crush, and I saw results. That's motivating. So now I'm stepping up my game with my other titles and hoping that I'll get results for those too. The tricky thing is that what works as far as marketing one book may not work for the next, so I'm constantly trying new things and keeping track of what works and what doesn't.

How about you? Do you force yourself to market even when you don't feel like it?

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24. Writer Wednesday: Write the Book

Okay, so it's no secret that I'm a bit of a dork. ;) So every time I hear Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off" I sing the words a little differently. I'm not going to sing for you all because I don't want you to run off screaming. Instead, I'm going to share my version of the song, which I call "Write the Book." Enjoy!

"Write the Book"

I write way too much, got stories in my brain

That's what people say mmm, that's what people say mm
m
I release too many books, but I can't make 'em sell

At least that's what people say mmm, that's what people say mmm

But I keep writing, can't stop, won't stop typing

It's like I got this story in my mind saying it's gonna be alright

'Cause the readers gonna read, read, read, read, read

And the bloggers gonna
 blog, blog, blog, blog, blog
Baby, I'm just gonna write, write, write, write, write
write the book, write the book

Reviewers gonna rate, rate, rate, rate, rate

And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate

Baby, I'm just gonna write, write, write, write, write

write the book, write the book

I never miss a word, I'm lightning on the keys

And that's what they don't see mmm, that's what they don't see mmm 

I'm writing on my own (writing on my own), make the words up as I go (words up as I go)

And that's what they don't know mmm, that's what they don't know mmm

But I keep writing, can't stop, won't stop typing

It's like I got this story in my mind saying it's gonna be alright

'Cause the readers gonna read, read, read, read, read

And the bloggers gonna 
blog, blog, blog, blog, blog
Baby, I'm just gonna write, write, write, write, write

write the book, write the book

Reviewers gonna rate, rate, rate, rate, rate

And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate

Baby, I'm just gonna write, write, write, write, write

write the book, write the book

write the book, write the book

I, I write the book, write the book

I, I, write the book, write the book

I, I write the book, write the book

Hey, hey, hey, just think while you've been getting down and out about the pirates and dirty, dirty cheats in the biz you could have been getting down to this sick book

My ex-fan brought his new book friend

She's like "oh my God," but I'm just gonna write it

And to the M.C. over there with the hella good hair

Won't you come on over, baby, we can write, write, write

'Cause the readers gonna read, read, read, read, read

And the bloggers gonna blog, blog, blog, blog, blog

Baby, I'm just gonna write, write, write, write, write

write the book, write the book

Reviewers gonna rate, rate, rate, rate, rate

And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate

Baby, I'm just gonna write, write, write, write, write

write the book, write the book

write the book, write the book

I, I write the book, write the book
I, I write the book, write the book

I, I write the book, write the book

write the book, write the book

I, I write the book, write the book
I’ve got to

I, I write the book, write the book

I, I write the book, write the book

And for anyone who doesn't know Taylor's song, here's the video:
I dare you all to sing along but with my version. ;)

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25. Writer Wednesday: Marketing Highs and Lows

Last week on my Monday Mishmash I mentioned that I've been committing to doing at least one marketing effort per day. I also mentioned that I've seen some positive results from this. So I thought today I'd share a little more about what I'm doing.

I tried something new, which is to use sites to advertise my books. I'm not one to spend a lot of money on advertising though, so I found some sites that are free and others that are under $10. My results were mixed. Some of the promo days wants really well, ranking my book in the 200s on Amazon. One book was ranked there twice in the span of a few weeks and is still going strong. This book is free though. Now you may be thinking, Kelly, why would you pay to advertise a free book? Well, here's why. When you put a book out for free, you're doing it to allow readers to sample your work and hopefully become fans. If you succeed, you'll get readers who then go buy your other books. When you market a free book, you're reaching more potential readers. Will I make that money I spent back with my free book? No. But I hopefully will with the next book in the series.

Now I mentioned mixed results. This happened when I promoted a book that wasn't free. I saw no change in sales. None. Same tactic, different book, very different results. Does that mean I'll never try it again with a paid book? No. I think everything with marketing is hit or miss. It could have been the day of the week, the price of the book, the fact that this followed another promotion that was free and readers didn't have enough time to read my previous book they downloaded, etc. There are so many factors that could have contributed to it.

So what does all this mean? I think the promotions helped get my name out there. Right now it's too soon to tell how many new fans I was able to hook, but hopefully that will become apparent soon. In the meantime, I'll continue with my one marketing effort a day.

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